Kudu Bar: Gone but not for­got­ten

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Entertainment - Bruce Ndlovu Show­biz Cor­re­spon­dent

BLACK was the theme colour for last Fri­day’s Re­mem­ber Kudu Bar party ses­sion which saw Bu­l­awayo’s so­cialites, rev­ellers and celebri­ties come out to play dur­ing a night ded­i­cated to the now de­funct joint.

Black is the colour of mourn­ing and those that re­mem­ber Kudu Bar in its rau­cous for­mer glory would no doubt, have been down­cast at the prospect of an­other once off open­ing of the club.

Kudu Bar’s death is an uneasy one and its lat­est res­ur­rec­tion served to high­light that it’s not at peace in its grave, with the peo­ple that made the joint what it was also not ready to see its bones turn to dust just yet.

How­ever, if Fri­day’s event was a me­mo­rial ser­vice, the sec­ond such event held for the club this year, it was one that stayed true to the ethos of the Kudu Bar of old as the shuf­fling feet of rev­ellers swept away the cob­webs from the joint’s famed dance floor. Fri­day’s event had an air of ex­clu­siv­ity around it, with a neatly laid out red car­pet lead­ing to the en­trance of the bar.

This fea­ture per­haps showed that al­though it has been ly­ing dor­mant for a few years, Kudu Bar has grown-up posthu­mously, in as much as the peo­ple that used to fre­quent the joint have also piled on the years in its ab­sence.

Al­though classy, the old Kudu Bar was not a snob in its out­look, making friends with any fun lov­ing rev­eller.

Whether one woke up to the chirp­ing of birds in the city’s leafy suburbs or the ag­gres­sive chants of touts in the western half of the city, all were wel­come un­der Kudu’s um­brella.

For the new­bie who had come for a nor­mal Fri­day night out at Harts­field Tshisa Nyama, the five-star treat­ment those milling around to step on Kudu Bar’s hal­lowed turf would have seemed much ado about noth­ing.

Harts­field Tshisa Nyama has, for the past few years, been pen­ning the script for its own leg­end that awaits fu­ture recita­tion.

For some, it is the be all and end all of vi­brant out­door en­ter­tain­ment just like Harts­field was for club­bers be­fore its clo­sure.

How­ever, even for the unini­ti­ated it was ap­par­ent that the old magic, for a night at least, was back as the old joint woke up, not with the creak of a long slum­ber­ing joint, but the lithe grace of a beast that has been wait­ing its awak­en­ing.

The empty space that most rev­ellers don’t even glance at when they seek re­lief on a nor­mal Tshisa Nyama night came alive as ta­bles, chairs, couches and mu­sic drove away the fu­neral at­mos­phere that now haunts the joint.

The bar was also a hive of ac­tiv­ity as those in at­ten­dance did not seem to mind part­ing with their hard won dol­lars.

The city has a high turnover of clubs, with new joints be­ing res­ur­rected on the graves of those whose mem­o­ries have not even faded.

How­ever, rarely has a club’s legacy en­dured the way Kudu Bar has, cling­ing to the mem­o­ries of those that once danced the nights away un­der its strobe lights.

But what makes Kudu Bar spe­cial? Per­haps in its prime, the club rep­re­sented the re­bel­lious and fun lov­ing spirit of Bu­l­awayo.

Ev­ery­one has a Kudu Bar story to tell, none more so than Babongile Sikhon­jwa who was the erst­while com­man­der-in-chief of all things fun and naughty at the joint. It was at his be­hest that the rule book was shred­ded night af­ter night.

“Ba­si­cally we were a club with­out rules. Old clubs would tell peo­ple not to wear hats and other such silly rules. In­stead, we en­cour­aged peo­ple to jump on ta­bles or shout ob­scen­i­ties.

‘‘We also contributed to the numbers in the cen­sus be­cause ba­bies were made at Kudu,” said Sikhon­jwa.

“I re­mem­ber when DJ Cleo came to the Hockey Sta­dium and the af­ter party for that event was held at Kudu. We had a queue so long that peo­ple had to go up the stairs to wait to pay to enter the club.

“First we charged $5, then $10 in hope that peo­ple would leave. At $20 even more were still com­ing in. That day was a turn­ing point for Kudu.”

Per­haps the wild hap­pen­ings that made Kudu Bar work are what un­did it at the end, as it be­gan to at­tract un­wanted at­ten­tion.

“For young guys with no fi­nan­cial back­ing what we did was amaz­ing. Six years later, peo­ple still re­mem­ber Kudu Bar. We left a mark the same way the likes of Win­der­mere and Sil­ver Fox did,” said Sikhon­jwa.

Last Fri­day how­ever, there were no raunchy sto­ries to share as Kudu Bar took an­other breath one more time. DJ TIRA had blood on his hands on Satur­day – but it was for a good rea­son. As part of the tra­di­tional wed­ding process, Tira’s wife Gugu Khathi hosted an um­bondo cer­e­mony – a tra­di­tional gath­er­ing where a cow is slaugh­tered – at Tira’s KwaHlabisa home­stead, in KZN.

The pop­u­lar mu­si­cian, whose real name is Mthokozisi Khathi, re­cently mar­ried Gugu but they did not per­form um­abo. Dur­ing the cer­e­mony, the two fam­i­lies come to­gether and the bride is in­tro­duced to the an­ces­tors. Tra­di­tion­ally, the bride’s fam­ily has to of­fer gifts to the groom’s fam­ily af­ter the tra­di­tional wed­ding.

Gugu said: “We’ve been pre­par­ing for this day for some time. Tira’s fam­ily is a very warm fam­ily.”

DJ Tira praised Gugu for be­ing a won­der­ful and re­spect­ful wife.

“Since I met my wife, I learnt to be hum­ble and I also learnt to re­spect other peo­ple. What we’re do­ing to­day is part of our tra­di­tion. She’s bring­ing um­bondo.

“We’re not rush­ing, be­cause we’re happy. We had to do this first, but maybe next year, we’ll do our white wed­ding,” said Tira.

DJ Tira was born and raised in the area and on Satur­day, the res­i­dents hailed him as their hero who put their kasi on the map.

“I spent most of my time in­doors when I was a kid. My dream was to be­come a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man.

“I’m happy to be a good ex­am­ple to other young peo­ple.” – Dai­lySun

Babongile Sikhon­jwa

DJ Tira and wife Gugu Khathi cut­ting their tra­di­tional wed­ding cake

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